Spreading the ‘Spirit of 46’
May 10, 2021
2021 FOBA Honoree - Large Business
With every penny scraped together, Bill and Katey Sebastian started a telephone company in 1946. Today their grandson Bill Barcus, president and CEO, carries the growing company’s legacy. The company will celebrate 75 years in business this year.
Sebastian is rooted in Kerman and Foresthill. It provides local dial tone, long distance and broadband services. Sebastian has also expanded to security systems, electrical, low voltage and underground construction services
Barcus is the third generation to run the company, and he loves the business through memories with his grandparents.
The company’s name embodies the Sebastian legacy, which the company now calls the “Spirit of 46,” because of the legacy of applying hard work and dedication to the family dream. It seeks to pass on the commitment to the community and be a great place to work, bridging the gap between new and seasoned employees.
“The best way to provide great service to customers is with happy employees. That definitely started with my grandparents,” Barcus said. Sebastian’s community outreach has a strong emphasis on literacy, which dates back to Barcus’ grandmother being a teacher. The company’s nonprofit, Katey’s Kids, hosts free weeklong reading camps for children.
As Sebastian moves into fourth generation leadership, Barcus hopes he can pass on the community-first heart of the business.
Telephone companies have survived changes with technological advances, and Sebastian continues to adapt. “We’re addressing that by increasing the amount of fiber that we have in our networks, which improves quality of communication and of broadband quality and speeds,” Barcus said. While residential areas are transitioning away from landlines, businesses are adding them. There will be much longer demands for commercial landline telephone services, he said.